Tete’s camp in eye of storm
Social media takes jab at camp after trainers left in cold amid recording row
The camp of world boxing champion Zolani Tete has been rocked by internal rift ahead of the boxer’s biggest (now cancelled) fight in US on Saturday.
Tete was to face US-based Filipino Nonito Donaire for the WBO, WBA and WBC bantamweight titles at Cajun Dome in Lafayette, Louisiana in US on Saturday.
The fight would have also served as the semi-final clash for the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS), making Tete the first boxer in the continent to compete in the series.
The winner was to advance to the finals of the Muhammad Ali Trophy later this year.
However the camp of the Mdantsane boxer is reeling from internal strife stemming from the inability of head trainer Loyiso Mtya and his assistants Phumzile Matyhila and Mhikiza Myekeni to secure visas to go to US.
Tete left with manager Mla Tengimfene, consultant Andile Sidinile, technical trainer Andile Mofu and conditioner Thulasizwe Sifatyi to US.
Tete has been training under Floyd Mayweather snr’s tutelage in Las Vegas for two weeks.
This has not gone down well back home with boxing fans questioning the absence of Mtya and accusing Tete’s management of deliberately leaving the veteran trainer behind.
The situation was exacerbated by an audio recording purported to be coming from Tengimfene where he said he wished Mtya’s visa application did not succeed for this trip to prove that the team was not relying on one person.
The recording has gone viral subjecting Tete’s camp to a barrage of attacks with some even wishing the boxer to lose.
Tengimfene confirmed that the audio was from him but denied that the camp was rocked by internal strife.
“Yes, I am the one talking on the audio but everything was taken out of context,” he said.
As the matter worsened Tete’s camp released a long statement explaining the reasons behind Mtya and his assistants’ absence.
The statement reads in part: “It was our wish for our technical team to be part of Las Vegas trip so that they can learn some of the aspects of the game. But as the days went by without positive feedback about the visas applications, we had to stick with Floyd Mayweather snr and work with him with the fight strategy communicated with trainers back home.”
The team lamented the attacks it has been getting over the Mtya debacle, emphasising that it was also negatively affecting Tete.
Regarding the audio recording, the statement acknowledged that the voice was indeed that of Tengimfene.
“This statement was taken out context and it was a result of the social media storm which invariably caused frustrations within the team. Mla can be heard saying he wished Mtya’s visa application was not successful for now not forever so that the social media proponents can see that the team does not rely on one person,” the statement read.
Tengimfene appealed to naysayers to understand that the fight meant so much to Tete.
“All I wish is for those who claim to love Zolani to show it and not embark on this negative crusade,” he said
Tete was scheduled to participate in a media day workout on Thursday before a pre-fight press conference on Friday but pulled out of the tournament due to an injury at the last minute...